Student point of view: Finding my place to grow | MSU Today

Rachel Drobnak is an undergraduate student in crop and soil sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In addition, she is a student at the Specialized college and plays the Beaumont Tower carillon. The following student view is repurposed content, and the original story is available on the CANR website.

I’ve always wanted to come to a great university because the support is there for literally everything. The opportunities in Michigan State are truly endless.

Agriculture is something that I’m really interested in because I’m studying how to make food more sustainable for people and how to bridge the gaps between consumers and producers, and I really like that.

Thinking about how we create an earth – a world where we can all be fed and not destroy our planet is really motivating for me.

Rachel Drobnak pours grains into bag for analysis

I spent the summer working with Brook wilke, associate director for science and agronomy at KBS, and Dean Baath, educator in sustainable agriculture via MSU Extension, learning small grains, so barley, rye and wheat. I also learned how extension works, how on-farm research works and what the university is doing to support farmers. It’s really cool.

Agroecology is a very integrated and interdisciplinary approach to agriculture taking the ecological aspect of working in a natural system, but also the social aspect as a process designed by man to produce food and combine the aspects cultural and economic.

There are so many issues related to the food system, and there must be more young people interested in these issues, producing food, making our food systems more equitable, bringing diverse perspectives.

Music wise, I’ve been playing the piano for about seventh grade at home, and I just did it for fun, then when I got to college, I lost that. So, thanks to a friend I discovered the Tower, and I was able to take carillon lessons.

The instrument itself is similar to an organ. It’s a fun challenge for me both to learn how to use my feet and my hands, but also to play a really public instrument in a really public space.

Rachel Tower with the Beaumont Tower carillon

Playing bells is fun. It uses another part of my brain. It makes me take time to study because I can overwork myself very easily. Following the music was just necessary for my sanity.

“MSU Shadows” is the song that I love to play the most, but also the song that I am most afraid to play because everyone knows it. When I play it it’s wonderful, but if you make a mistake everyone will hear it, so it takes a lot of courage and effort to focus and get it right.

The fight song “Victory for MSU” is really fun. It’s fast, and I don’t play with my feet as much, so I can play the notes a lot faster.

I made a lot of connections through the Beaumont Tower, and it really connects me to the state of Michigan. It’s something that really connects me to my school and makes me feel like I really belong here. To be Spartan means for me to have a community. When I am Spartan, it is when I am in community with other people in the courtyards, outside the courtyards and even in the steeple.


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